Month: July 2021

Dodgers’ Payroll Now Exceeds $300 Million as Baseball Competition Moves From the Field To the Bankers

by Scott Mandel

According to national baseball columnist, Bob Nightengale, the Dodgers payroll is now above $300 million since adding Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals to their mix of players.

The Nationals, who handed those two star players to the Dodgers for four unproven prospects, now has a payroll of $128.16 million, less than half the Dodgers.


In baseball, there is a luxury tax which kicks in at $210 million for team payrolls. It was installed a quarter century ago to achieve a semblance of competitive balance between large market teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Neuvo York Jankees vs. the small-market teams like the Kansas City Royals and the Fred Wilpon-owned New York Mets which could never compete, financially with the big guys. (The Mets have since become a big market team with new ownership).


The Dodgers have the highest payroll in the sport, by far, at $275 million, or, $65 million over the salary threshold. This means the Dodgers will be paying a luxury tax in the range of 40% of that $65 million or, an additional $26 million, pushing the Dodgers overall payroll expense north of $300 million.


The Kansas City Royals’ payroll is $127 million. The Miami Marlins payroll is $58 million, a fifth of the Dodgers. Even the Yankees, who somehow convinced the Cubs and the Rangers to pay the remaining 2021 salaries of the recently acquired Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo (not the dead gangster) have not exceeded the $210 million salary threshold, as they regularly used to do when George Steinbrenner owned the team.

Enough said about parity in major league baseball under its current commissioner, Rob Manfred. It’s more like a parody.

Guggenheim Baseball Management Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty  Images
Not one of these current Dodger owners ever played baseball or ran a baseball team


It seems the Dodgers, a baseball brand name with an unusually spotty ownership history, are more interested in purchasing a World Series championship than competing for it on the field. The franchise was owned by the Ebbets Family during the early Brooklyn years and sold to the O’Malley family in 1945, which ran a steady and stable ship for 53 years. Walter O’Malley moved the team to Los Angeles in 1958, holding onto ownership until 1998, when his son, Peter, who inherited the team upon his father’s death, sold the Dodgers to Rupert Murdoch, a criminal in so many ways, and his Fox Entertainment Group. Fox Sports, using the Dodgers games as tv programming for their stations, held onto the team for only 5 years before they sold it to another crook, Frank McCourt, who was forced by the Lords of Baseball to divest himself of the Dodgers in 2012 because of nefarious business acts, like embezzlement of the team’s earnings for personal gain. Now, something called Guggenheim Baseball Management (not a lot of flare in that name, is there?) which bought the team out of bankruptcy court owns the famous franchise, which has been run like a circus since the mid-90s. Guggenheim consists of such esteemed baseball people as Billie Jean King, Magic Johnson, Peter Guber (the movie producer), Stan Kasten (former NBA executive with the Atlanta Hawks), and some money guys. Tommy LaSorda must be spinning in his grave.

They may not know anything about baseball but apparently, they know how to buy players for a stretch run.

But, that’s okay, These geniuses at Guggenheim are paying an alleged serial rapist, Trevor Bauer, a star pitcher they acquired in free agency before this season, a whopping $32 million not to pitch because sometimes, bad people and bad organizations get what they deserve.

Mandel’s Musings: Former Mets Ace Matt Harvey On a Resurgence with Orioles

By Scott Mandel

Matt Harvey is enjoying a bit of a renaissance so far in the second half of the season.

The Orioles’ veteran right-hander has not allowed a run in two starts (12 innings) since the All-Star break. Harvey also managed consecutive scoreless starts for the first time since August 2015.

“Obviously, everybody knows when it is and it’s there, but really, my job is to go out and prepare for each start and see what happens,” Harvey said. “I haven’t put up very good numbers other than the previous two and to really be a target or whatnot, but at the end of the day those decisions aren’t mine and I can’t really worry about them.

“My job is to go out and win ball games for the Orioles, and luckily I’ve been able to do that the last two, and I’m going to continue to do that from here on out.”

On July 18, Harvey (4-10) threw six scoreless innings of three-hit ball with two strikeouts and one walk, throwing 48 strikes with 26 balls in a 5-0 win against the Kansas City Royals. He earned his first win since May 1 at Oakland, snapping a 12-start winless skid during which he went 0-9 with a 10.20 ERA (51 earned runs in 45 innings).

Harvey earned a bear-hug from Orioles manager Brandon Hyde after he left the game. Hyde knows Harvey has the mechanics to have dominant outings, but he is still experiencing some challenges from being limited as a pitcher during the last couple of seasons.

“There was a hug in the dugout just because he wants to go deep in the game and he wants to get back to the form that he was in 2012-2015, and he works extremely hard at it,” Hyde said. “He’s disappointed with not going deeper in games and the fourth and fifth inning issues he’s kind of had. I think a lot of that is physical, too. The year layoff, the weird year he had the year before, injury stuff. But for him to get an extended period of rest and go out and really keep his pitch count down, for me that’s the huge thing with our starters.

Harvey’s next start was equally impressive.

Harvey threw six scoreless innings in a 5-3 victory against the Washington Nationals July 24. He allowed just one hit with four strikeouts and no walks.

Harvey’s ERA has fallen from 7.70 on July 24 to 6.65 as of July 27.

He is becoming increasingly more comfortable on the mound.

“I think the last time I had this many starts was 2018 in a continuous year, so it was definitely good to physically have the break,” Havey said. “And then obviously when you feel like it’s so close and you go out and one inning here and there gets the best of you, it gets a little mentally draining, as well.

“So, I think definitely being able to just kind of flip the switch and just really pretend I’m starting fresh and trying to concentrate on being out there every fifth, sixth, seventh day, whatever it is with all these off-days, and just trying to win as many games as I can for this team and really just kind of start over and flush what happened in the first half.”

2015 World Series: Game 5 - Mangin Photography Archive
Harvey in the 2015 World Series for the Mets

Harvey signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Orioles prior to the season. There was speculation that the Orioles would try to flip him at the trade deadline if he thrived in his new environment.

The idea seemed far-fetched just two weeks ago, but now Harvey could have some value.

After this up and down season, he’s prepared for anything.

“My job is to go out and prepare for each start and see what happens,” Harvey said. “I haven’t put up very good numbers, except for the previous two starts, to really be a target. But at the end of the day, those decisions aren’t mine, so I can’t worry about them.”

Mandel’s Musings: Yankees Lose Six Players to Covid Protocol – Not All Were Vaccinated

by Scott Mandel

Of the six New York Yankees players who have just been diagnosed with Covid, evidently, not all of them were vaccinated. We cannot find out who they are because of privacy laws concerning personal health disclosure but, suffice to say, the rules of the road in 2021 regarding concern for the health of one’s co-workers’ health, if not for their own, have changed. Viruses do that sort of thing, especially the deadly kind.

On Thursday, general manager Brian Cashman told reporters that the Yankees had three positive cases and three that were pending. All six were later confirmed to be positive. The six players — Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes, Wandy Peralta, Aaron Judge, Kyle Higashioka, and Gio Urshela — were placed on the COVID-19 list.

These athletes live together every day, on the field and in the sweaty, steamy locker rooms. They travel together and they go out for food and a few pops together after games. It says here, the audacity of not doing whatever they can to protect their teammates is grounds for some form of dismissal from the organization. It may be permanent or temporary but it should be designed to help the team retain its ability to field its players for the games that fans are paying exorbitant amounts of hard-earned cash to attend. And, to watch the best players play, not minor leaguers.

Those players who have chosen to not be vaccinated, for whatever personal and legitimate reasons they may have, should no longer be allowed in the locker room or on the field. They should continue to get paid for some period of time, but not for the length of their entire contracts. The courts can handle that one. But, giving these potential carriers and spreaders of a deadly virus means they cannot be allowed anywhere near their place of work until they decide to get vaccinated. I would think this topic is creating enough acrimony within teams, especially among those who are supporting families consisting of elderly and young people, for it to be a regular debate.

It is time for management and player’s association leaders to get together on a policy. In all professional sports. And, that goes for amateur athletics, as well.

Freedom is a right but it comes with rules, too. You cannot drive a car without being licensed. You cannot travel overseas without a passport. You should not be able to enter public spaces without a mask or, proof of vaccination, Otherwise, you are a public safety risk.

Rules matter. So does basic consideration and concern for fellow human beings in times of collective danger.